British university umbrella group opposes student union’s BDS backing


(JTA) — An umbrella group for 133 British universities said it does not support the decision of the country’s student union to boycott Israel.

Universities UK announced Wednesday that it was “firmly opposed” to a boycott of Israel because such a move prevents the “free exchange of ideas,” the Times of Israel reported.

The UK National Union of Students voted Tuesday to join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Its motion “condemns Israeli military presence in the West Bank and Gaza,” according to the Jewish Chronicle, and calls on students to “co-ordinate a nationwide student day of action to commemorate UN Palestine Solidarity Day” on Nov. 29.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the student union for boycotting Israel while rejecting an earlier motion to condemn the Islamic State, or ISIS.

The National Union of Students is the UK’s umbrella student organization for some 600 higher education institutions representing 7 million students, according to the Times of Israel.

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